PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY USROWING
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Five U.S. boats advanced on the first day of competition at the 2023 Pan American Games Qualification Regatta in Concepcion, Chile.
In the men’s pair, Ezra Carlson (Eureka, Calif./University of Washington/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) and Alexander Hedge (Morristown, N.J./Columbia University/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) dominated the second heat to advance to the final, building nearly a six-second advantage in the first half of the race before winning by nearly nine seconds. Carlson and Hedge crossed the finish with a time of 6:48.05, finishing 8.94 seconds ahead of Uruguay’s Martin Zocalo and Leandro Rodas. Mexico’s Hugo Reyes and Jordi Gutierrez held off Argentina’s Ignacio Pacheco and Joel Romero by just over one second to win the first heat. The top two crews in each heat advanced directly to the final.
Grace Joyce (Northfield, Ill./University of Wisconsin/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) won her heat of the women’s single sculls to advance to the semifinals. With three to advance, Joyce built a huge lead on the rest of the field during the first half of the race before crossing the line in an 8:03.58, more than 21 seconds ahead of Uruguay’s Cloe Callorda. Chile’s Antonia Abraham won the second heat in an 8:03.44, finishing more than four seconds ahead of Canada’s Alizee Brien. Brazil’s Cardoso Beatriz won the first heat in an 8:19.06, finishing nearly 10 seconds ahead of Cuba’s Ana Jimenez.
In the men’s single sculls, Jacob Plihal (Vashon Island, Wash./Northeastern University/Craftsbury Green Racing Project) also won his heat to move on to the semifinals. With two to advance, Plihal sat in third place though the 1,000-meter mark before reeling in Argentina’s Santino Menin and Uruguay’s Bruno Cetraro. Plihal crossed the line in a 7:21.29 to finish 3.5 seconds ahead of Cetraro, who took the second qualifying spot. Brazil’s Ferreira Lucas won the first heat in a 7:15.62. Chile’s Felipe Cardenas won the third heat in a 7:21.60.
Racing in the first of two heats of the women’s pair, Isa Darvin (Madison, Wis./University of Wisconsin/Penn AC) and Cristina Pretto (Prospect, Conn./Trinity College/Penn AC) advanced to the final by placing second in their opening race. Canada’s Kailani Marchak and Olivia McMurray took the lead in the opening half of the race and cruised to nearly a seven-second victory, clocking a 7:24.74. Darvin and Pretto finished with a time of 7:31.31, comfortably in front of Mexico’s Lilian Armenta and Maite Arrillaga for the second qualification position. Chile’s Antonia Zanetta and Antonia Pichot won the second heat in a 7:40.71, with Uruguay finishing second.
With one to advance to the final, the women’s double sculls tandem of Madeleine Focht (Long Beach, Calif./California State University, Long Beach/Long Beach Rowing Association) and Veronica Nicacio (Battle Ground, Wash./University of Portland/ARION) finished second in the second of two heats and now will race in the repechages for a second chance to advance to the final. Focht and Nicacio challenged the home crew of Melita Abraham and Victoria Hostetter, but the Chileans were able to hold off the U.S. boat by about two seconds. Abraham and Hostetter clocked a 7:11.32, with Focht and Nicacio finishing in a 7:13.48. Canada’s Caroline DePaiva and Kristen Siermachesky won the first heat by nearly 15 seconds over Brazil in a 7:24.16.
Joyce, Focht, and Nicacio joined Katherine Horvat (Philadelphia, Pa./Yale University/ARION) in the women’s quadruple sculls, finishing second in the first of two afternoon heats to advance. The crew finished 3.82 seconds behind Chile to move on to the final. The Chileans clocked a 6:31.37, with the U.S. boat finishing in a 6:35.19. Argentina and Cuba advanced out of the second heat, with Argentina clocking a 6:46.85 and the Cubans crossing the line in a 6:50.28.
In the men’s double sculls, Luke Rein (Barrington, R.I./College of Charleston/Penn AC) and Casey Fuller (Newtown, Conn./Fairfield University/Saugatuck Rowing Club) will be racing in the repechages after finishing third in their heat. With one to advance, the U.S. sat in fifth through the 1,000-meter mark before moving up to third. Argentina’s Axel Haack and Agustin Scenna won the race in a 6:36.14, with Chile’s Francisco Lapostol and Alonso Poo taking second in a 6:40.78. Rein and Fuller clocked a 6:42.51. Mexico’s Miguel Carballo and Alexis Lopez won the first heat in a 6:28.09, finishing just one second ahead of Cuba’s Roberto Paz and Carlos Ajete.
Mark Couwenhoven (Parkton, Md./University of Maryland – Baltimore County/Penn AC) joined Fuller, Rein, and Plihal to race in the men’s quadruple sculls. With only one to advance to the final, the U.S. boat finished third in the second of two heats and now will race in the repechage. Cuba and Chile battled at the top of the field through the 1,000-meter mark before Cuba pulled away in the final stretch. Cuba clocked a 5:53.91, with Chile crossing in a 5:58.76. The U.S. finished in a 6:02.40. Uruguay won the first heat in a 5:57.37, with Mexico close behind in a 5:59.07.
The lightweight men’s double sculls tandem of Sean Richardson (Beverly, Mass./University of Massachusetts/Riverside Boat Club) and Alex Twist (Boston, Mass./University of Puget Sound/Riverside Boat Club) finished fourth in their heat and will race in the repechages. With three to advance to the semifinals, Chile’s Heber Sanhueza and Cesar Abaroa outlasted Brazil’s Piedro Tuchtenhagen and Uncas Tales to earn the victory in a 6:35.13. Brazil finished 0.87 second behind in a 6:36.00. Argentina took the third qualifying spot. Canada’s Emerson Crick and Giancarlo Dipompeo won the first heat in a 6:46.32, with Mexico’s Rafael Mejia and Ricardo De La Roda winning the third heat in a 6:34.82.
The remaining three U.S. crews will hit the water for the first time on Sunday. Elizabeth Martin (Lexington, Mass./Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Riverside Boat Club) and Mary Wilson (Laurens, S.C./Duke University/Vesper Boat Club) will take on nine other crews in the lightweight women’s double sculls. Martin was part of the lightweight women’s quadruple sculls at last year’s world championships, while Wilson is racing for the U.S. for the first time. Martin finished third in the lightweight single sculls at last year’s Pan American Games Trials. Both women raced in the B final of the lightweight single sculls at last month’s Winter Speed Order, with Martin winning to take seventh place overall.
Darvin and Pretto will join Hannah Paynter (Lyme, Conn./Princeton University/ARION) and Lauren Miller (St Cloud, Minn./University of Minnesota/ARION) in the women’s four. Paynter served as an alternate at last year’s world championships, while Miller is representing the U.S. for the first time internationally. Paynter and Miller raced the pair at the 2023 Winter Speed Order, finishing ninth overall.
In the men’s four, Carlson and Hedge will race with Cooper Hurley (Andover, Mass./University of Delaware/Penn AC) and Nicholas Ruggiero (Haddonfield, N.J./University of Delaware/Penn AC). Hurley and Ruggiero, who won the pair at the 2022 USRowing Summer National Championships, finished second behind Carlson and Hedge at last year’s Pan American Games Trials to earn their spots in the qualification regatta. Hurley raced in the lightweight men’s double sculls at the 2019 Pan American Games, while Ruggiero will be racing for the U.S. for the first time. Eight crews are entered in the event.
In total, the U.S. has 12 boats competing in the five-day regatta. Twenty athletes make up this year’s roster including six who were part of the U.S. squad at the 2022 World Rowing Championships. Racing continues on Monday with medal races in the men’s and women’s pairs and quadruple sculls, as well as repechages from Sunday’s events. Tuesday’s racing features finals in the men’s and women’s fours and lightweight double sculls, as well as the remaining semifinals. Racing concludes on Wednesday with finals in the men’s and women’s single sculls and double sculls.
Click here for a complete look at rowing’s qualification procedures for the 2023 Pan American Games. The 2023 Pan American Games are scheduled to take place October 20-November 5, with the rowing events being contested October 21-25 in Concepcion, Chile.
USRowing would like to thank Filippi Lido, the Official Boat Supplier for the U.S. Senior, Under 23, and Para Rowing National Teams. Under the agreement, Filippi is providing USRowing a fleet of boats for international competitions including the World Rowing Cup regattas, World Rowing Under 23 Championships, World Rowing Championships, Olympic Games, and Paralympic Games, as well as a domestic training fleet for the USRowing Training Center.